SERIES: Healthcare in America #32, Judy Fletcher, This Is the Bronx

By Judy Fletcher, March 4, 2019

Billing Compounds Serious Health Condition

Ten years ago, on an evening in February, the school where I teach music called to tell me that I had been confirmed for an exciting trip to China with other faculty and administrators. But I missed the call because I was being rushed to the hospital with a brain infection, which turned out to be encephalitis accompanied by a seizure.

I rarely get sick, and when I do, I usually just power on through until I get better. Things began in an ordinary enough way. I came home from school not feeling very well, but this time, my condition deteriorated rapidly until I felt so ill with flu-like symptoms that all I could do was crawl into bed and sleep. (A side-moral of this story is, even if you are 58 years old and healthy, you should listen to your mother when she tells you to get a yearly flu shot!) At the time, I had a lot of responsibilities in addition to my work. As I was crashing, I quickly arranged for my friend to pick up my csa order and for my husband to take my younger daughter to a college dance audition and stand in for me at two concerts at which friends were performing. The last thing I remember doing was putting the groceries in the freezer—and crawling back into bed.

My husband was relieved that, for once, I was giving in to being sick and seemed to be taking care of myself, and he let me sleep. But when I had been asleep for the whole day and he shook me gently to wake me up, he saw that my eyes were open but unseeing, and I did not respond to anything he said. So he called 911...

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